Violet recaps the series premiere of Fear the Walking Dead (the prequel to AMC’s The Walking Dead), which takes place in Los Angeles as the virus breaks out there! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
To see Josh’s thoughts on the series premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, click here to get directly there!
Don’t need the episode recap for the Fear the Walking Dead pilot? Click here to jump directly to Violet’s thoughts on the episode!
Episode Recap of Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
A young man wakes up inside of an abandoned building and hears noises as he looks for someone named Gloria. As he walks through the building, he discovers a dead, bloody body. Finally, he finds Gloria. Her eyes are glazed over, and she is eating someone’s face. When she notices the young man, she begins walking toward him – with a knife in her chest. The young man frantically runs away, out into the street, and gets hit by a car.
The young man’s family gets a phone call and goes to see him at the hospital. His name is Nick, and the cops try to question him about what he was raving about. But really they just want to know who he got his drugs from. Nick’s mom, Madison Clark, kicks the cops out. Also with her are her boyfriend, Travis, who has recently moved in, and her teenage daughter, Alicia. Travis calls his ex, Liza, then talks to his teenage son, Chris, who is supposed to come over that weekend. However, they get in an argument, and he decides not to come over after all. Travis and Madison discuss getting Nick into rehab.
Then Madison drives Alicia to school, where Madison also works as a counselor. The principal, Art, greets Madison on her way in, and comments about a lot of kids being out sick. She assures him she’s had her flu shot. A kid named Tobias sets off the metal detector, and Madison brings him to her office to talk. She has covered for him, making it look like coins set it off, but it was actually a knife. He explains that it was for his safety, and refers to reports of a virus in 5 states, saying that people are killing. Madison doesn’t believe there’s a threat though, and thinks that the authorities would say so if there was.
Meanwhile, Alicia skips class to visit her boyfriend, Matt, who is painting a mural by the football field.
At the hospital, Travis is sitting by Nick’s bedside. Despite Nick’s request, Travis refuses to let him out of his arm restraints. Nick tells Travis what he saw in the church where he got high. Travis thinks it was just the drugs that made him see that. Regardless, that night, Travis goes to the church to check it out himself. He finds one guy hiding there, but the guy quickly runs away before Travis can ask him anything. Travis finds a lot of blood, but no bodies.
The next morning, Travis and Alicia stop by the hospital, where Madison has spent the night sleeping next to Nick. While Madison and Travis step out of the room, Alicia and Nick share some brother-sister bonding. Travis tells Madison that he found a lot of blood at the church, but Madison still isn’t buying into what Nick said happened. Travis goes back in and informs Nick that the shrink will come by to see him today.
At school, Alicia spends more time with Matt. They talk about Alicia going to Berkeley and about Nick. They make plans to meet up later at the beach.
Travis resumes teaching at the high school. Madison is at the school as well, and eavesdrops on his class as she walks by. It turns out the principal is eavesdropping on classes as well. Travis’s lesson is about Jack London and how nature always wins.
At the hospital, the nurse brings Nick a bedpan, and he talks her into untying one of his hand restraints. As soon as she leaves the room, he unties his other hand. But the old man in the bed next to him goes code blue, and hospital staff rushes in and takes him downstairs. Nick takes the opportunity to steal the old man’s clothes and escapes from the hospital wearing them.
Madison and Travis show up to the hospital to find Nick gone, and the nurse is less than helpful. Madison demands that Travis take her to the church where this all started. She thinks he might have gone back there, but either way, she still wants to see it. Travis tries to talk her out of it, to no avail. They go inside and have a look around. She finds a book that belongs to Nick, which has a syringe inside of it, and she breaks down crying.
They go to see Calvin, a friend of Nick’s. But Calvin says he hasn’t seen Nick in awhile. He invites them in, and says he’ll make some calls to see if anyone’s heard from Nick. Travis tries calling his son, Chris, but just gets voicemail.
Nick wanders down the street and calls someone, asking them to call him back.
At Venice Beach, Alicia waits for Matt, but he’s not answering her texts, so she leaves.
On the drive home, Travis and Madison get stuck in traffic due to an incident on the exit ramp of a freeway. They try to see what’s going on, as helicopters hover above, and they hear gunshots. They are able to get back on the freeway and drive away.
The next day, very few kids make it to school. Madison, Travis, and the other the teachers watch the leaked footage from the incident on the freeway the night before. It looks like a guy is dead, but he attacks someone. Cops try beating the guy, but he isn’t going down. The cops shoot him, but he keeps coming. Travis tells Madison this is what Nick was describing, and she agrees they need to tell the police, and find Nick.
In class, Alicia and her friends watch the rest of the leaked footage – the cops shoot the man in the head, and he finally goes down. Alicia is still worried about the fact that Matt is not texting her back. Just then, the principal makes an announcement that the district has decided this is only a half day. The bell rings, and students are instructed to proceed to their buses. Apparently they’re worried about the shooting. Madison sees Tobias on the bus, and he gives her a knowing look.
Nick finally meets up a diner with the person he’s been trying to reach – it’s Calvin. It seems that Calvin is his dealer, and Nick wants to know what Calvin gave him, wondering if it was laced with something, but Calvin denies it. Nick tells Calvin what he saw at the church, but Calvin doesn’t believe him. Calvin comforts Nick as he cries and freaks out about what he saw. They take a drive down to the concrete area of the Los Angeles River so Calvin can score some drugs for Nick, who hasn’t done any for 2 days. But when Nick sees Calvin holding a gun, Nick thinks Calvin is going to shoot him, and fights back. The gun goes off and shoots Calvin in the chest, killing him. Nick runs off.
Apparently Nick calls Travis asking him to come meet him, and is upset when Travis shows up with Madison as well. Nick tells them that he shot Calvin, and they drive back down through the tunnel to Calvin’s car. But when they walk to the car, Calvin’s body is no longer there. Nick freaks out that he is going crazy, and Madison hugs him, comforting him. They get back in the truck, and as Travis drives in reverse back up the tunnel, he sees Calvin walking toward them. Travis and Madison get out of the truck and go toward Calvin, though Nick tries to warn them not to. Calvin tries to bite Madison, but Travis pushes him away. Nick, still in the truck, backs into Calvin, running him over. However, Calvin gets back up, so Nick drives straight into him. Calvin is on the hood of the truck for a few seconds, then flies off when Nick brakes, landing on the concrete river basin. However, Calvin still moves his head to look at them. Madison asks, “What the hell is happening?” and Travis answers, “I have no idea.”
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 1 of Fear the Walking Dead: Pilot
If you know me, or if you’ve been reading our site for awhile, then you know that one of my favorite subgenres is that of a virus breaking out and threatening to wipe out the majority of the world’s population. We get that in the parent show, The Walking Dead, which begins after Rick wakes up from having been in a coma awhile, so society has already broken down, and we don’t get to see how that happens. Well, now with Fear the Walking Dead, we do. The idea behind this series is that we get to see how it all started, except in Los Angeles, rather than the Atlanta area, and with a whole different group of people.
So was the pilot of Fear the Walking Dead all that I ever dreamed of as the set up to an apocalyptic virus? Not really. It was incredibly slow paced. It felt like one of those slow episodes of The Walking Dead where nothing really happens. Really all that happened was: druggie kid sees zombie, gets hit by car, goes to hospital, leaves hospital, accidentally shoots friend, who turns into zombie, and won’t die despite being run over. Meanwhile, there’s some footage of a guy that comes back to life and won’t die until he gets shot in the head, and also there’s a bunch of kids missing or out sick from school. Oh, and we get introduced to the main family that this show will be about. You would think that in this 90 minute (63 minutes without commercials) episode that something more eventful would happen.
Okay, so you could argue that more is coming, that this is only the first episode, and that it’ll get more interesting as the story evolves over this 6-episode season. I hope so, because I was really struggling to get into this episode. I mean, come on, they feature the same location (the church) 3 times, and they don’t find anything interesting there upon the revisits! I understand that the parental figures would want to venture there to see what Nick was talking about, but couldn’t they combine the separate trips of Travis and Madison into one? There was nothing added to the story by going there twice, it was just a big waste of time.
I also feel like we didn’t really get to start from the beginning. Apparently, rumors of this virus had already been going around, as the student Tobias mentioned that it had been in 5 states. I would have liked to have seen other news coverage of how the virus was popping up around the country. Seriously, when Ebola broke out with just one person, and then to two, that’s the only thing you heard on the news for weeks straight. Madison didn’t seem too concerned about it though, which makes it seem like either this was not in the mainstream media, making Tobias appear to be a conspiracy theorist nut, or that Madison doesn’t really pay attention to the media. If there’s really all of this weird stuff happening, it seems like there would be more coverage of it. The only explanation I can come up with is that this is just one family’s perspective of how the events unfolded, and apparently they’re too distracted by other things going on in their lives to notice what else is going on in the country, until it hits close to home. Although it was weird how when they had a zombie right in front of them, and when they were staring at Calvin’s still moving body, Travis and Madison seemed largely unfazed.
In any case, I am still going to watch it, in hopes that it picks up. It’s from the same team of people that made The Walking Dead, so I put my faith in them that Fear the Walking Dead will turn out to be good too.
Josh’s Thoughts: Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
So, I have had mixed feelings about his new show, Fear the Walking Dead. Aren’t we getting enough zombie-vision with The Walking Dead? Apparently America says no, considering that this show has shattered all records in terms of season premieres for cable.
The pace of this initial episode felt pretty slow. I guess this should be expected though—it is the beginning of the apocalypse, so there would be some set up going into it. Still, I had some issues with how the episode played out.
Let’s start with this mystery woman named Gloria. First, lets assume that she is the first person in the Los Angeles area to be turned (which is probably not the case). What happened to her after the attack that Nick witnessed? She didn’t just up and disappear. Someone would have found her, and something would have happened. I guess I can give this a pass, and say that since this show is from the perspective of this family, maybe something did happen, but we just didn’t see the end result. But let’s assume that this it the case. I would think that since we have this initial case, there would be news reports flying across the TV of weird instances of people going crazy, trying to eat other people. Many people have heard weird things that happen in real life (like the bath salt issues in Florida a couple years back). This “outbreak” would seem to gain national attention really quickly, if it is going to become a pandemic. I am not sure it would have this weird lingering feeling that it does.
I am also wondering what is with this flu situation on the bus. Did the virus start as a flu? Or are these kids dead? Hopefully this gets answered. It could be that these kids fall victim to the flu, die and that is how the virus starts, but the problem with this is that it breaks the lore of the show—this is not what is happening in The Walking Dead. People aren’t sick with a weird illness and turning. Also, what is a bit strange (I will credit this to Violet if she didn’t bring it up yet) is that people are turning without being bitten. How does this make sense? Considering that people were only turning if they were bitten in The Walking Dead, this also breaks continuity. They didn’t learn until much later in The Walking Dead that they all have the virus and turn upon dying. My best explanation for this would be that perhaps information was lost in the chaos of civilization crumbling. Again, it is hard to say, without seeing more episodes.
As for the actual drama of the show, I guess it is fine. I will have to see how it plays out with the whole potential step-dad thing coming up, along with the heroin-addicted son. I really thought the intentional cheesiness of the fake dramatic scares was a bit stupid. I guess they had to do something as they work on getting to the apocalypse-proper.
One final thing that bothered me was the way the family reacted to the death of Calvin. While it is certainly that is something that would be baffling, I Would have thought SOMEONE would have been a bit more hysterical about the death. Their reaction just seemed like, “huh, that’s weird…”
Having had all these complaints, I tend to be a bit of a pessimistic when it comes to new shows. I will give it some more episodes, and see how my feelings are then.
Scenes from Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1 Episode 2: So Close, Yet So Far
Here are scenes from Season 1 Episode 2 of Fear the Walking Dead, titled So Close, Yet So Far: